ummer is here and with it comes longer days, more sun rays, and plenty of parties with friends and family. But before letting barbecues and beer interfere with your fitness progress, consider your other options: farm-to-fresh, low-calorie, summer cocktails!
We had a chance to speak with Chris Ojeda, Regional Mixologist of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Southern California. Chris brings to Southern Glazer’s 15 years of bar operations experience that ranges from Bartender to Bar Manager, General Manager and even Global Bar Director. Education and training have been the cornerstone to what has set Ojeda apart.
Chris Ojeda’s Tips On Incorporating Fresh Ingredients
Fresh ingredients are what cocktails should be made from. Pre-mixed syrups and mixes are like comparing Fast-food chains to great chef-driven restaurants. You’ll feel better drinking fresh ingredients and minimize negative after-effects of processed sugars from pre-mixes.
Fresh berries and vegetables provide unique flavors and authentic experiences. Whether you’re ordering a cocktail at your favorite restaurant and they use a fresh sprig of thyme in the cocktail to add a wonderful aromatic, or your hosting a small group of friends at your house and you have fresh fruit from your garden to use in a simple cocktail you’ve prepared to make — people will be wowed.
On Drink Trends – What’s Popular Now
Green Veggies in Cocktails
Green veggies have been huge in cocktails ever since you started seeing cucumber martinis on restaurant/bar menus. More and more bartenders have been venturing to the garden: Yellow Bell Peppers are the sweetest and pair great with Tequila & Mezcal; Carrot and Ginger offer many health benefits and are a great way to sub out sugar in cocktails; Snap Peas offer a great subtle sweetness that are bright in color and flavor when mixed in a cocktail. Snap peas can be muddled fresh into a cocktail or juiced using your home juicer.
Teas in Cocktails
Hibiscus teas are really popular as they add a beautiful natural color to drinks. Teas provide lots of flavor and can be mixed with sugar to make a tea simple syrup. Lapsang Souchong tea is a black tea that offers a smoke aroma to it, which is perfect for those looking to create that campfire cocktail.
On the Lowest Calorie Drinks for Men & Women
Keep things simple to spirit based cocktails like Manhattans and Martinis. Least amount of mixers in your cocktails the better. Soda water has less sugar than tonic. Spritzes are great low-calorie summer cocktails that you can enjoy with something like Lillet Rose, soda water and Prosecco. For fellas, Rye Whiskey on the rocks with Angostura bitters and an orange peel expressed over top is a great low-calorie Old Fashioned. Just ask the bartender for an old fashioned no sugar.
Recipes by Chris Ojeda
- 2 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Lime
- .75 oz Simple Syrup
- 3 Cucumber Slices – Muddled
Muddle, Shake, & Strain into an Ice filled Rocks Glass -Sea Salt & Black Pepper over top of Cocktail
Italian Gin Tonic
- 2 oz Gin
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- Seasonal Herbs – Like Thyme or Rosemary
Top with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic. Build over ice in a White Wine Glass – Garnish Lime wheel
- 1 oz Rose Wine
- .5 oz Lillet Rose
- .5 oz Lemon
Build in a Wine Glass w/ Ice. Top w/ Soda -Strawberry Slice